AGATHE SIMON
The Polar Project

2013-16
Multimedia Installations, Performances, Online Micro-Narratives
Variable Dimensions

© Agathe Simon

Since 2014, The Polar Project has been presented in the following institutions: French Institute of Algiers (Algeria), Nocturne Halifax Art Festival (Canada), University of Sciences and Technology in Oran (Algeria), Art and History Museum in Tlemcen (Algeria), French Institute of Constantine (Algeria), City Hall of Paris’ 10th arrondissement (France), ‘Cité Internationale des Arts’ in Paris (France), Audiorama & MDT (Sweden), CDG Gallery in Rabat (Morocco), Trocadéro Library in Paris (France), ‘Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris’ (France), University of Cergy Pontoise (France), University of Aix-Marseille (France), and Spazioersetti Gallery (Italy).

The Polar Project: A Double Exhibition

Agathe Simon’s The Polar Project comprises two exhibitions:

  • Antarctica (2014-15), following a creative residency in Antarctica, at the invitation of the Argentine government,
  • Arctica (2016), following a creative residency in the Arctic aboard the sailboat Atka.

The Polar Project is being carried out by Agathe Simon in collaboration with the Argentine Ministry of Culture, the Atka Association, the Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), the French Institutes of Argentina and Sweden, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee, the Visby International Centre for Composers and the Russian State Arctic & Antarctic Museum.

A Tribute to an Imaginary Novelist

The Polar Project is a tribute to the famous French-Argentine novelist Gabriela Conti (1974-2010) – who never existed. A legendary figure of early 21st century literature, the first woman of Argentine nationality to reach the South Pole, Gabriela Conti was invented by Agathe Simon, who ensured the socio-historical likelihood of her imaginary character with several experts: journalists, scientists, writers, architects, antique dealers, etc.

By developing the hagiography of an nonexistent person, The Polar Project questions the decline of imaginary and critical dimensions in our era. Therefore, it warps the codes of museography, documentary and narrative, by offering the museum space a fiction that has all the appearances of reality.

The Polar Project also includes the posthumous novel by Gabriela Conti (prefaced by Professor Hervé Le Corre, a specialist in Latin American literature at the ‘Sorbonne-Nouvelle University’); a radio play on France Culture (France’s number one Cultural radio station); lectures-performances; as well as online micro-narratives, which help spread the fiction on recognized websites (France CultureFacebook), and via the blog of Cecilia Conti, the novelist’s sister.

The Polar Project has been realized in collaboration with the Argentine Ministry of Culture, the Atka Association, the ‘Cité Internationale des Arts’, the French Institutes of Argentina and Sweden, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee, the Visby International Centre for Composers, and the Arctic and Antarctic Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Agathe Simon is a Paris-based artist, born in 1977. After a decade of art projects throughout the world, she starts a partenrship with the art company The Group in Paris in 2017. She is also conducting artistic creation workshops at the Sorbonne University.

Agathe Simon is currently preparing projects in partnership with ‘Les Voûtes’ (a Parisian alternative art venue), the “C.N.R.S.” (the largest governmental research organisation in France), the Paris Cergy National Graduate School of Arts, the University of Cergy-Pontoise, and the Museum of Non-conformist Art (Saint Petersburg, Russia). These projects will include performances, films, and exhibitions.